Year of Gadgets: Is this the greatest salad gadget of all time?

I’m immersing myself in the strange world of kitchen tools/gadgets/appliances for our Year of Gadgets series, and since we’re just getting started, I wanted to share what might be the strangest (or greatest) salad gadget I’ve ever seen.

This salad cutter bowl is sold on several websites, including GoAmiroo. Contributed by GoAmirro

I’d never seen one of these until I was at my parents’ house in Missouri earlier this year and my mom eagerly pulled hers out. My dad had seen it online and ordered it on a whim for my mom’s birthday.

As advertised, it changed their salad game.

I used it to make a salad one of the nights I was there, and it certainly made sense. You fill the bowl with the whole ingredients you want to use, put the slicer bottom on top, flip the dome over and then slice through the narrow vertical openings. My mom had to demonstrate how to twist the bowl so you could make perpendicular cuts to whatever is inside that bowl. Sure enough, the salad was evenly chopped and practically pre-tossed by the time we opened it.

If you just want to make a small salad, it doesn’t work so well, but for a big dinner salad to serve three to six people, this gadget can’t be beat.

In the promotional videos, you can use it to make fruit salads, too, which seems like a huge time saver. You can also use it to cut cauliflower steaks, but the key is filling up the bowl with whatever you are cutting.

It won’t work to slice a single tomato (unless the tomato is quite large and can nearly full up the bowl), but you can slice through a handful of cherry tomatoes that are in the bowl with spring greens a lot easier than if you were slicing them individually on a cutting board.

I don’t mind making small side salads the way I already do — grab a handful of lettuce, put in a bowl, sprinkle feta cheese and maybe some black olives or toasted nuts on top, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and serve — but if you’re making main-course salads a few nights a week, this gadget could really come in handy.

The salad cutter bowl costs about $15 and is available mostly online. Several different companies make slightly different versions of it, including one called O’Salata. Walmart has a knock-off available for $12, but skip the Oxo salad cutter with a double pizza slicer that you’ll find at Bed Bath and Beyond. You’ll never cut through a carrot with that roller, and you might hurt yourself trying.

What’s the most indispensable gadget in your kitchen? Have you tried this salad cutter? Do you find it as easy to use as the infomercials?

 

Year of Gadgets: Instant Pot fanatic? You’re not alone

If you bought a countertop appliance last year, chances are pretty good you either bought or considered an Instant Pot.

There are basic rules for adapting recipes for the Instant Pot, but in general, it’s easy to use and useful for most cooks, according to writer Shefaly Ravula. Contributed by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

This newfangled 7-in-1 appliance, which costs about $100, was one of the bestselling kitchen gadgets last year, and it was certainly one of the most talked about.

In today’s food section, Shefaly Ravula, who has been a fan of the appliance for months, explains that the Facebook groups alone have tens of thousands of members who answer questions at every hour of the day. She made the case that the InstaPot, as it’s known, is useful enough that most cooks would find use for it several times a week, but you do have to follow recipes carefully to make sure that the water ratio and cooking times are right.

Beans are one of the most popular dishes to cook in an Instant Pot because you can cook them on the pressure cooker setting in about 40 minutes. Contributed by Shefaly Ravula

This is the first of a new series we are launching called Year of Gadgets. Inspired by the Year of Baking, this time, we’re taking on the devices and tools that make kitchen life easier. We’ll be exploring all kinds of gadgets, from the ones you think you can’t live without (toaster, microwave) to the ones you’re not sure you need (SodaStream, sous vide).

If you have an IP, as it is known, we’d love to hear your thoughts on it, or if you have a suggestion for a gadget you think we should feature this year, email me at abroyles@statesman.com or hit me up on Twitter, @broylesa. The gadgets don’t have to be electric (a mandoline is on my shortlist), but the more useful and efficient they are to use, the better.

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